REELZ ANNOUNCES SUMMER 2018 SLATE WITH NEW SPECIALS, A NEW TRUE CRIME SERIES AND PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW AND RETURNING SERIES AS PART OF ITS GROWING COMMITMENT TO ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
New Specials Spotlight the Incredible Real Stories of George Michael, Phil Hartman, Paul Walker, the 40th Anniversary of the Movie ‘Grease’, Ted Bundy and Escapes From Alcatraz
Returning Series with New Episodes Include ‘Scandal Made Me Famous’, ‘Murder Made Me Famous’, ‘The Shocking Truth’, ‘Collision Course’ and ‘Copycat Killers’
(Albuquerque, NM) Monday, April 23, 2018 – REELZ today announced its summer 2018 programming slate including six new documentary specials, new true crime series Sex, Lies & Murder and premiere dates for six new and returning series. The new specials include the fascinating story of a pop idol in George Michael’s Lonely Life along with three new Behind Closed Doors specials with host Natalie Morales showing viewers the incredible stories of Phil Hartman, Paul Walker and the wildly popular movie musical Grease which marks its 40th anniversary in June. Additional specials include a never-before-seen look at daring prison breaks in Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes and the two part Ted Bundy: Serial Monster about the riveting real story behind the madman who some experts estimate had more than 100 victims.
New original series Breaking the Band makes its premiere revealing the ugly and heartbreaking but true stories of how some of the biggest bands broke up. Returning viewer favorites include Scandal Made Me Famous with new episodes about the firestorm queen Kim Kardashian, Patty Hearst and more while Murder Made Me Famous returns with the tragic tales of Jeffrey Dahmer and Jack the Ripper. The Shocking Truth is back with the unbelievable real stories behind the movies Poltergeist and Casino among others while new episodes of Collision Course examine the crashes of the Titanic, Evel Knievel, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the “Miracle on the Hudson” airline crash that inspired the movie Sully. Rounding out the slate are new episodes of Copycat Killers about the real life copycat crimes based on the movies Fight Club, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Casino.
“Our commitment to original programming is up an incredible 22% year to year as our independent network keeps growing and we are thrilled to show our viewers a summer slate packed with intriguing and surprising real stories about real celebrities,” said Steve Cheskin, SVP of Programming at REELZ. “From our favorite stars in music, movies and entertainment to infamous people whose devious deeds made them household names our network’s powerful storytelling shows the real lives of celebrities who fascinate us.”
Premiere dates and times:
Phil Hartman: Behind Closed Doors (new special)- Sunday, May 27 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
George Michael’s Lonely Life (new special)- Saturday, June 2 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Breaking the Band (new series)- Sunday, June 10 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Grease: Behind Closed Doors (new special)- Saturday, June 16 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
The Shocking Truth (new episodes)- Saturday, June 30 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Sex, Lies & Murder (new series)- Saturday, June 30 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Ted Bundy: Serial Monster (new two-part special)- Part 1 on Saturday, August 11 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT and part 2 on Sunday, August 12 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Scandal Made Me Famous (new episodes)- Saturday, August 18 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Copycat Killers (new episodes)- Saturday, August 18 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Murder Made Me Famous (new episodes)- Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Collision Course (new episodes)- Sunday, August 19 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes (new special)- Tuesday, August 21 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Below are descriptions for all new and returning programming listed alphabetically:
Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes (Premieres Tuesday, August 21 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- Criminals including Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud all called Alcatraz Island federal prison home and all of them dreamed of breaking out. Over nearly 30 notorious years there were 13 documented escape attempts from Alcatraz but the obstacles were massive and many, from thick impenetrable concrete walls with barb wire to a high guard count and, above all, a mile and a half of swift frigid tides to the nearest shoreline. Many of the escape attempts have inspired the movies Sean Connery’s The Rock, Burt Lancaster’s Birdman of Alcatraz and Clint Eastwood’s classic Escape From Alcatraz. Now in in the two hour documentary special Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes the shocking true stories of what prisoners called “Hellcatraz” come to life through new evidence, never-before-seen archive footage and interviews with guards and inmates. At the heart of Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes is the story of bank robber and kidnapper Frank Morris who in 1962 led a team of three prisoners in the most brilliant breakout of all – Alcatraz’s great escape. It took weeks of clever planning and desperate ingenious inventions including raincoat rafts and dummy heads with real human hair to confuse guards. They ran to the shore where they inflated their rafts, entered the water, and were never seen again. Or were they? Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes reveals the true story. Alcatraz: The Greatest Escapes is produced by Hoff Productions.
Behind Closed Doors (New Phil Hartman episode premieres Sunday, May 27 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)
Every so often a star or movie leaves an everlasting mark on culture and entertainment creating household names with stories that enthrall the public. Behind Closed Doors original documentary specials hosted by Natalie Morales return with new episodes about the life and legacy of renowned multi-hyphenate talent Phil Hartman, an episode celebrating the 40th anniversary of the timeless movie musical Grease and an intimate look at The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker’s life cut short by tragedy. Behind Closed Doors examines the lives of beloved celebrities utilizing the vast offerings of NBC News historical archives including rarely seen footage and revealing interviews with the celebrities themselves along with fresh interviews from those who knew or worked with them. Behind Closed Doors specials are produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions.
Phil Hartman: Behind Closed Doors premieres Sunday, May 27 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. In the ’90s, Phil Hartman was one of television’s most beloved comedians. After eight seasons on Saturday Night Live and a record-setting 153 episodes everyone knew his name – but very few people knew him. Because despite his well-known warmth and generosity, Hartman was constantly disappearing into his SNL characters, the cartoons he voiced and finally into a marriage that ended in murder. Though his career was cut short by violence Hartman has left us with a wealth of performances both hilarious and poignant. Adding in the voices of friends, loved ones and colleagues, Phil Hartman: Behind Closed Doors reveals a man of intense intelligence, dedication and talent – man known by few but loved by many.
Grease: Behind Closed Doors premieres Saturday, June 16 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Grease is the word. Without question the hit movie is an American touchstone loved by audiences young and old for the last 40 years. But before its 1978 release no one foresaw that a $6 million movie dismissed as “cinematic cotton candy” would become the highest-grossing movie musical of the 20th century and produce the top-selling movie soundtrack in history. Through the words of those who brought the movie to life, Grease: Behind Closed Doors explores how the movie was able to beat considerable odds thanks to its high-gloss exuberance, the sheer talent of its actors and an unforgettable score.
Paul Walker: Behind Closed Doors premieres in November 2018. In the fall of 2013 Paul Walker appeared to have it all. The 40-year old actor was in production on the seventh installment of his mega franchise The Fast and the Furious. He was running a nonprofit providing relief to disaster victims. And he was a full-time dad to his 15-year-old daughter. But on November 30th, 2013 it would all come to a shocking halt when the Porsche Walker was riding in crashed into a light pole killing the actor instantly. In Paul Walker: Behind Closed Doors friends, family and colleagues give insight into the passions of a good man who died too soon.
Breaking the Band (Series premieres Sunday, June 10 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT with “The Beatles” episode*) – Sell-out tours, chart-topping hits and runaway world domination can all mean nothing when you’re in a band on the brink of collapse. Tempers flare, arguments erupt and the sweet sound of musical success comes to an abrupt end. In hour-long episodes of Breaking the Band see the battling egos, power struggles and inter-band rivalries that split up The Beatles, The Supremes, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Beach Boys, N.W.A, Van Halen and Sonny and Cher. From crippling drug addictions to scandalous affairs Breaking the Band uncovers the incredible true stories by recreating the key moments the cameras missed in addition to using rare band interviews and off-stage footage to piece together each dramatic tale. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Collision Course (New episodes premiere Sunday, August 19 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT)- They’re the crashes heard around the world. Whether it’s Justin Bieber wreaking high-speed havoc in Beverly Hills or the devastating crash that severely injured Tracy Morgan and took the life of his friend – neither fame or fortune exempt you from fate. New episodes examine the Titanic sinking, the daredevil life of motorcycle stunt legend Evel Knievel, the heartbreaking fatal crash of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the remarkable story of the airline crash dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” after pilots landed their plane on the Hudson River – a feat that was depicted in the Tom Hanks movie Sully. Collision Course explores the stories and scenes of crashes involving celebrities and crashes that inspired movies and TV shows unraveling the speculation surrounding the crashes in hour long episodes using footage from the scene, police records, CGI reenactments and interviews with eyewitnesses. Collision Course is produced by Muse Entertainment.
Copycat Killers (New episodes premiere Saturday, August 18 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT)- When it comes to baffling and horrendous copycat crimes few rival the Slenderman story. Born online in 2009 the entirely fictional character became a viral obsession for some and in 2014 two 12-year-old girls led a friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in an attempt to appease Slenderman. Copycat Killers takes viewers behind the headlines of real-life grisly cases that copy memorable crimes seen in Hollywood movies and in pop culture. Each episode features a mystifying crime scene and law enforcement’s hunt for the perpetrators. New hour-long episodes include the copycat stories based on Casino, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Fight Club in addition to the Slenderman case. Copycat Killers includes interviews with investigators, family members of victims and forensic experts and also features high quality recreations, extensive archive and original documents from police case files. Copycat Killers is produced by Story House Productions, Inc.
George Michael’s Lonely Life (Premieres Saturday, June 2 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- In the two-hour documentary special George Michael’s Lonely Life see the incredible real life story of the pop superstar who sold more than 100 million albums over a career that spanned four decades. From his rise to fame in the pop duo Wham! alongside childhood friend Andrew Ridgeley to 10 number one hits as a solo artist in America, hear Michael in his own words recount the soaring highs and crushing lows of his life. George Michael’s Lonely Life shows viewers the countless setbacks in Michael’s life from his mother dying to losing his lover Anselmo Feleppa and also his numerous brushes with the law resulting from an addiction to drugs. Still, the recurring theme in his life was a remarkable resilience and ability to turn potential career-ending moments into massive career boosts and chart-topping new music. But with his life cut tragically short at just 53 years old millions of fans were left wondering what could’ve been. George Michael’s Lonely Life features interviews from Wham! manager Simon Napier Bell, Wham! photographer Chris Craymer, friend and music journalist Lesley-Ann Jones, biographer Robert Steele, collaborator Toby Bourke, music historian Paul Gambaccini and many more. George Michael’s Lonely Life is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Murder Made Me Famous (New episodes premiere Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- The unnerving psychology behind murder has long been source material for television, books and movies but why do certain killers capture the attention of millions and their stories generate so much interest? In new hour-long episodes see the stories of disgraced NFL star Aaron Hernandez, ruthless serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and the infamous Jack the Ripper among others. Murder Made Me Famous presents dramatic recreations of well-known crimes using archival material and insightful commentary from those connected to the case to help unravel the twisted personalities behind the grisly crimes. Featured commentator for every episode is author and PEOPLE crime reporter, Steve Helling, who has covered several high-profile crime stories including the Natalee Holloway and Laci Peterson disappearances. Murder Made Me Famous is produced by AMS Pictures.
Scandal Made Me Famous (New episodes premiere August 18 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- What happens when a face in the crowd becomes a household name for all of the wrong reasons? See the unforgettable stories that thrust everyday people into the spotlight when their scandals reach the public. New hour-long episodes include the salacious stories of Kim Kardashian, Patty Hearst, Ethan Couch aka “affluenza” teen and Lisa Nowack aka “the diaper astronaut”. Each hour-long episode of Scandal Made Me Famous unfolds in the storytelling tradition of the fan favorite original series Murder Made Me Famous. Dramatic recreations of famous scandals are brought to life through archival material and insightful commentary from those connected to the story but Scandal Made Me Famous proves you don’t have to kill to become a notorious celebrity – you just have to be a part of a killer scandal. Scandal Made Me Famous is produced by AMS Pictures.
Sex, Lies & Murder (Series premieres Saturday, June 30 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT)- A husband’s heart wrenching betrayal results in his wife committing a horrific act of violence. A wife’s torrid affair with her pastor ends with her husband killing them both. A salacious online romance leads to murder after it’s discovered. Love can make people do terrifying and unspeakable things. Sex, Lies & Murder is a true crime series with hour-long episodes detailing the true crime cases of relationships in which broken intimacy has led to murder. When the lies collapse and the love triangles are revealed crimes of passion turn what should have been simple break ups into headline grabbing real life stories with severe consequences. Sex, Lies & Murder is produced by Pyramid Productions.
Ted Bundy: Serial Monster (Part 1 premieres on Saturday, August 11 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT and part 2 on Sunday, August 12 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- A handsome gentlemen on the outside – a terrifying and depraved monster on the inside. He was a chameleon so deceptive that some experts estimate he charmed more than a hundred women to their cruel deaths. From his beginnings as an innocent paperboy to an admired high school athlete to budding attorney and rising politician, no one recognized him as the bloodiest mass murderer in American history. He’s an American psycho, a Buffalo Bill, a Grimm monster. He is Theodore “Ted” Bundy. Ted Bundy: Serial Monster is the two-part four-hour documentary special that shows viewers the why and how behind Bundy’s disturbing roots, obsessions, psychological tricks, narcissistic self-promotion and murderous aim. How did Bundy’s story begin? Why did his crimes begin? Why wasn’t he captured sooner? The special explores his amazing ability to cover his tracks and uncovers how he outwitted an army of investigators despite being identified by friends, colleagues and even his girlfriend. Even behind bars there was no way to stop him. Twice he escaped from supposedly escape-proof prisons and killed again. And even after his final capture and facing the electric chair see how Bundy still repeatedly outsmarted the press and judicial system. Ted Bundy: Serial Monster is the terrifying story of a man whose life became doling out death. Ted Bundy: Serial Monster is produced by Hoff Productions.
The Shocking Truth (New episodes premiere Sunday, June 30 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- The Scream movies featuring the iconic Ghostface killer are one of the most popular horror franchises of all time. The four movies have grossed more than $330 million in the U.S. alone. But the roots of the grisly story go back to a horrifying murder in Florida in the early 1990s from which the Scream screenwriter drafted a script about a young woman alone in a house who is taunted over the phone and then attacked by a masked killer. The perplexing stories of unsolved crimes, baffling mysteries and disturbing inspirations behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters take center stage in The Shocking Truth. In new hour-long episodes dive into the riveting and sometimes unnerving real stories behind the movies Poltergeist, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Casino. The Shocking Truth is produced by Pyramid Productions. (Reelz)